Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2009

The decisive moment, it comes faster than you think. It is that split second when all the photographic elements come together. It is your sense of creativity and a flow of energy for recognizing the creation that presented itself to your lens.

When you are in a helicopter, flying at a little over one hundred miles per hour, moments in time whiz by. You have to think ahead of where you are and what you may respond to as the shadows and light patterns are on display.

While on assignment, above Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, I had the opportunity to photograph the Napali coast and Waialeale the wettest spot on earth.

Valley of the Lost Tribe

Valley of the Lost Tribe

What do you prepare for when the unknown is coming? Film, batteries, lenses, all those things are easy to anticipate. You can view other images that you have researched but there is no guarantee that the light and weather will cooperate. It is kind of a take it as it comes situation.

Taking off from Lihue’s airport we flew north over cane fields and along the coastline. Once the Pali’s came into view we darted in and out of the high sea cliffs and valleys oozing with bright green vegetation and sharp jagged peaks.

The Headwall - Wettest Spot om Earth

Headwall - Wettest Spot on Earth

At first I wanted to just respond with my motor drive and simply burn off as much film as possible thinking something good will surely come of it.  But I couldn’t. I concentrated on form and let the light trigger the shutter for me. I slowed down my vision even though my heart raced with the shutter and thump of the helicopter’s engine.

The images came as quickly as the speed of the aircraft. One pristine valley after another, Hanakapi’ ai, Hanakoa, Kalalau all in verdant green and parting clouds that opened always at the right moment. We turned up country, “makua”, toward the mountains soaring up one of the most enchanting settings on the coast, Honopu, the Valley of the Lost Tribe.

Entering the Crater

Entering the Crater

Knife-like edges of eroded lava carved the valley walls. Shadows raced faster than we could fly. I couldn’t even hear my camera speak as the drama lured me in.

A brief minute later we were headed toward Waialeale enveloped in the grey of rain clouds. Our approach was low. I thought for a time we were too low but my pilot pulled up and we just skimmed the edge of the crater. We shook hard as the turbulence grabbed at the helicopter jolting us from side to side. Rain pelted the windscreen.

Once in the hollow of the crater the rain stopped but dozens of waterfalls plummeted hundreds of feet bouncing off cliffs in narrow ribbons. We approached the headwall coming within just a hundred feet or so when we stopped in mid air, hovering we turned a 360 degree circle in slow motion. I was in the wettest spot on earth, another first for this photographer.

Waialeala

Waialeala

With more than 450 inches of moisture per year nature’s greenery blanketed everything, even the steepest parts of the crater wall were covered in plant life. It was awesome to witness and humbling to photograph.

The camera freezes moments in time but it is up to you to choose those moments and trip the shutter. Are we willing to wait for the right fraction of a second?

A series of Giclee prints were produced that became my visual diary of a brief 90 minutes flying time over millions of years of geologic history and indescribable beauty found only in Hawaii.

Other related posts regarding Hawaii:

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/napali-coast
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/house-of-the-sun

 Images used in this post are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

Read Full Post »

I have heard the sound of thundering hoofs before in rounding up horses, changing pastures on a ranch and in observing wild horses in the Pryor Mountains in Montana. But hear on the savannah of the Serengeti it was a different story.

Tens of thousands of Zebras, also members of the equine family, inhabit this region from treeless grasslands to open woodlands. They gather for the annual migration along with, sometimes, a million or more wildebeest moving with the seasonal growth of available grassland.

Zebra herd

Zebra herd

At first we were miles away driving down from Ngorongoro Highlands. A dark long string of fluid movement crossed the horizon. As we drove closer it sounded like rolling thunder or the low rumbling of a small earthquake. Closer still the grunts of wildebeest and the high pitched two syllable “kwa-hi” sound of zebra filled the air.

Like a massive school of fish their movement was constant. I had a hard time trying to single out individuals to photograph. The confusion was incredible especially with the wildebeest.

 

A show of dominence

A show of dominance

In contrast to the dark browns of wildebeest the zebra really stood out. The Burchell’s zebra of East Africa is built very much like a stocky pony. Its patterned coat of stripes can vary a lot both in number and size of stripes. The stripes are known to form a disruptive coloration pattern which breaks up the outline of the body. In the early morning light or in the evening, when predators are the most active, zebras’ stripes make their bodies indistinguishable and it is thought that they confuse predators by distorting distance.

When you first see a herd of zebra they all seem to look alike but like many other animals they have their distinction. Striped patterns are their “fingerprints” and by comparing the width of the stripes along with coloration and scars individuals can be identified.

He just kicked the fender of the Rover

He just kicked the fender of the Rover

My attention centered on the zebra rather than the wildebeest. They were so distinctive I could not resist. Besides the wildebeest seemed to keep their distance from the Land Rover while zebra totally ignored us. Young foals pranced and danced just like the wild horses in Montana. Their behavior was easy to predict and movement to follow with a lens just like the horses I had photographed before.

Zebras, horses and the wild ass are all from the same family. They are long-lived animals and can move very quickly for their size. Their teeth are made for grinding and chomping on grass both long and short. A zebras’ mane is different from horses in that their hair is erect and short and the tips of their tails are tufted at the end compared to horses. Of course their coats are shinny and striped as well.

Herd of horses

Herd of horses

Their social structures are very much the same as wild horses with a harem of females run by a stallion. Their herds are usually small family groupings. Males are known to fight viciously over the females. Those without a harem to maintain move off alone or in small bachelor bands.

The whole scene was totally wild. Grunts, whinnies, flowing movement, dust and a great sense of restlessness filled the atmosphere. One particular young zebra actually kicked the fender of the Rover, running in circles and rearing up on its hind legs.

We witnessed one band heading toward a watering hole sheltered in a stand of small trees. They were being very timid and would back off fifty yards or so every time they approached the water. They did this several times.

Individual striped patterns identify each zebra

Individual striped patterns identify each zebra

Finally we saw a pride of lions, three females and five cubs lying in the tall spring grass. The females on their backs with legs sticking up in the air while cubs climbed over their bodies biting at swaying tails, playing in the warmth of the day.

The lions ignored the zebras no matter how close they got. For those few moments all was calm on the plains of Tanzania. But those nervous zebra did decide they were not all that thirsty.

Related Posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/tree-climbing-lions

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/tracking-lions

https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/elephant-brothers

Images used in this enrty are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography, 2009, All Rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited without the written permission of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Contact: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

Read Full Post »

The water was freezing on my bare feet. It took my breath away as I slipped into the creek coming out of Gunsight Lake in Glacier National Park. After a hot and sweaty hike from Going to the Sun Highway trailhead the water felt extra icy after taking my boots off.

The knee deep water and slick unstable rock kept me off balance and seized my private parts.  I struggled to keep my camera from getting soaked. I couldn’t believe the pain. The faster I tried to move the more I flailed making a fool of myself. I should have left my boots on.

This moderate to strenuous hike began just east of Logan Pass at the Jackson Glacier Overlook trailhead. I dropped down to the valley floor about two hundred feet and met up with the St. Mary River. This part of the forest was marshy and the heavy scented Cow Parsnips were as tall as any of the fellow hikers along the trail.

Gunsight Lake and Pass, Glacier

Gunsight Lake and Pass, Glacier

Hot sunny skies and humid air brought out the mountain mosquitoes that enjoyed getting behind my glasses and buzzing up my nose and whining in my ears.  On this part of the trail you feel vary hemmed in by all the vegetative overgrowth.

Still being new at the time to backpacking in Glacier all I could think about was that I was in Grizzly country. It kept my heart pumping and senses alert with anticipation.

Continuing along the trail I crossed Reynolds Creek and the juncture of Florence Creek just passed the 4 mile marker. It was at this point where the views started to open up and the air got lighter and much less humid. Both Mount Logan and Jackson pulled my spirit up into the higher country. I continued to climb along the east slope of Fusillade Mountain with wildflowers, especially the three to four foot tall Beargrass, in full bloom.

At a little under 6.5 miles I found myself at Gunsight Lake with its crystal clear waters reflecting blue skies with the glacial carved headwall and pass at the other end. After a brief rest I set up camp and glassed the trail heading up the next 1,600 foot elevation gain to the pass above.

The trail crosses the outlet of Gunsight Lake with a suspension bridge but it was washed out from the winter snow runoff. This was where I waded in shoeless nearly dumping my camera and myself in the drink. Thus I began the three mile trek up to the Pass.

Hiker mending backpack

Hiker mending backpack

The vistas were excellent with a steep drop off to the Lake on the right and ribboned waterfalls, cascading all along the Gunsight headwall. I glaciated down several snowfields that covered the trail and scrambled across a few patches of scree but progress was steady.

Three quarters of the way up the 6,947 foot pass several mountain goats were dinning on glacier lilies and a mineral lick. They were not bothered by me and barely moved aside as I continued on up the steep switchbacks finialy making it to the saddle of the Pass.

I dropped my pack and then myself, exhausted from the climb. Several other hikers were sunning themselves. Mountain goats were everywhere.

Salt licking goat

Salt licking goat

Looking over the pass to Lake Ellen Wilson was stunning. It was an exceptional panorama with a deep blue lake at the bottom and views stretching a hundred miles.  I scaled along large boulders and dwarfed pine trees exploring the area photographing more goats before returning to my pack in the alpine grass.

A guy from Utah was trying to mend his backpack. Marmots had chewed the leather shoulder straps off his pack while he was off exploring. His sweat left minerals dried into the pads and his fifty pound pack was left utterly useless. I gave him some rope and he tried to make due before his descent to Lake Ellen Wilson and Sperry Glacier Cabin for the night.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat

With lunch came more goats. Closer and closer until one started licking my legs to get at the sweaty salt. His big black tongue was like neoprene blotting at my knees and calves. The experience only added to the memorable landscape. I had forgotten the hot nine mile uphill trail with mosquitoes and the thoughts of bears that were not there.

Yes, an adventurous excursion well worth the effort.

For readers who might be interested in further travel journals on Glacier National Park and Montana Wilderness Areas check out these posts:
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/crown-of-the-continent
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/lee-metcalf-wilderness
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/yellowstone-national-park
https://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/absaroka-beartooth-wilderness

For travel information about Glacier National Park try these websites:
Web cams: http://www.nps.gov/glac/whatsnew.htm

Maps: http://www.nps.gov/glac/maps.htm

Natural resources: http://www.nps.gov/glac/resources.htm

Trail status and maps: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm

Bear information: http://www.nps.gov/glac/resources/bears.htm

Park publications: http://data2.itc.nps.gov/glac/inforequest/inforequest3.cfm

Park news: http://www.nps.gov/glac/pphtml/news.html

Park photos: http://www.nps.gov/glac/photos.htm
Frequently ask questions: http://www.nps.gov/glac/faq.htm

All images are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. No image may be linked to or downloaded without the written authorization of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Prints and or scans are available for purchase or lease. Please contact me through email: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com or through my web site at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com

Read Full Post »

Piegan Pass,Glacier National Park

Piegan Pass,Glacier National Park

To me Glacier National Park in northern Montana means a land of high-mountain adventure. The first time I saw this pristine rugged high country was in the mid – 70’s soon after I moved to Bozeman.

Its’ magnificence overwhelmed my senses sending my spirits high.

Towering mountain ranges with carved sculptured glacial valleys and clear lakes that reflected the mountains and Montana’s big blue sky were inspiring.

Mt. Gould, Many Glacier

Mt. Gould, Many Glacier

Glacier encompasses 1.4 million acres of wilderness with more than 730 miles of hiking trails and some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. It all results in making Glacier one of the most intact ecosystems in North America.

What was impressive to me was the isolation I felt and the spacial sensations of being on a mountain top seeing for hundreds of miles in all directions. Lasting impressions for the adventurous.

This glacier carved region is full of history. Many miles of hiking trails follow routes first used by mountain men and fur trappers in the early 1800’s. Before that several different tribes inhabited the area.

St.Mary Lake, East Glacier

St.Mary Lake, East Glacier

The Blackfeet Indians controlled the vast prairies east of the mountainous divide.  Kootenai and Salish Indians lived and hunted in the forested western valleys. They also traveled east into the prairielands to hunt buffalo.

Today the Blackfeet Reservation is attached to the east side of the park. The Salish and Kootenai reservation is southwest of Glacier. It is easy to see why this entire region of Montana continues to be of great spiritual importance to the Kootenai, Blackfeet and Salish native American people.

Through the middle of this extensive wilderness is the spectacular Going to the Sun Highway, a 55 mile road bisecting the park. It is a driving experience to remember as the highway follows along the shores of the Park’s two largest lakes, McDonald and St. Mary. The narrow roadway hugs the steep cliffs that run on both sides of the Continental Divide, traversing Logan Pass.

Going to the Sun is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most scenic byways in North America. Sharp switchbacks, a narrow thoroughfare and incredible panoramas at every turn make it hard for drivers to pay attention to where they are going.

Filled with all kinds of cool geologic names like hanging valleys, moraines, cirques, horns and arêtes produced by the carving and scraping action of glaciers the Park’s landforms are intriguing and they make you want to explore every inch for your own personal discovery.

Livingstone Range, Glacier National Park

Livingstone Range, Glacier National Park

Getting off road onto its trails is what Glacier is all about. It truly is a hiker’s paradise. My first backcountry experience there was a simple trek along Red Eagle Creek to the Lake, around 7.5 miles.

My equipment was rudimentary and the trail had only a 300 foot elevation gain but the night was filled with brilliant stars and that awesome wilderness silence.

I was humbled and I vowed to spend as much time as possible experiencing this Park’s wonderment.

Now many years later and more than a hundred miles of backcountry trekking under my boots I have some stories to share.

I plan on writing a series of posts on Glacier’s hiking trails bringing some descriptive adventures to my readers with photographic illustrations of fine art Giclee print examples designed and used for dramatic wall décor displays.

Please subscribe to my blog for further insight to Glacier National Park, a World Heritage Site.

For more information and resources on Glacier National Park try these sites:

Web cams: http://www.nps.gov/glac/whatsnew.htm

Maps: http://www.nps.gov/glac/maps.htm

Natural resources: http://www.nps.gov/glac/resources.htm

Trail status and maps: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm

Bear information: http://www.nps.gov/glac/resources/bears.htm

Park publications: http://data2.itc.nps.gov/glac/inforequest/inforequest3.cfm

Park news: http://www.nps.gov/glac/pphtml/news.html

Park photos: http://www.nps.gov/glac/photos.htm

Frequently ask questions: http://www.nps.gov/glac/faq.htm

 

All images are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. No image may be linked to or downloaded without the express written consent and rights authorization of Wayne Scherr at Range of Vision Photography. Images are available for purchase or lease for publication and print. Please contact me through email at: wayne@rangeofvisionphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »